The 2022 Green Bay Packers Offense was an atrocity, to say the least. There were bright spots like Jordan Love cooking when given the opportunity, Zach Tom being a beast, and the emergence of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Outside of that, the offense was as entertaining as watching paint dry. Some veterans were either injured for half the year, or they couldn’t perform as well as they were expected. A lack of balance in play calling and too many screens drove the offense into the ground, and the Packers organization has a lot of work to do on that side of the ball.
In 2020, after a rocky start on offense during the 2019 season, LaFleur, Rodgers, and Hackett sat down that offseason and went over what plays they did and didn’t like. This communication between the players and coaches allowed for one of the most efficient offenses in NFL history and gave Rodgers his 3rd MVP with an insane stat line. Clearly, the communication on all three levels made something work for the offense and something on that level needs to happen again. Get Love and maybe Rodgers (if he’s even on the team next year) in a room with LaFleur and Stenavich so they can discuss how to right the ship. LaFleur needs to swallow his pride and actually listen to the people around him because throwing the ball 40 times a game to Allen Lazard is not a recipe for success. We aren’t the same kind of passing offense anymore, especially if we really do lose Rodgers. Matt Lafleur needs to go back to the system he was a part of for almost his entire career, the Shanahan/McVay offense.
Back to the Roots
When hiring Matt LaFleur, the Packers were expecting an offensive mastermind with a scheme similar to Sean McVay’s or Kyle Shanahan’s. In his 4 year tenure in Green Bay, we have yet to see an offense that resembles his predecessors. I’m not saying his offense needs to be exactly like theirs, as differences are expected, but when other coaches and GMs are interviewed about the Packers scheme they laugh. There isn’t as much movement as those past offenses have had and there’s not enough communication while running routes. The Packers offense when compared to the 49ers is almost stagnant, has players in much more stiff positions, and relies on the quarterback being a hall-of-famer. LaFleur needs to take the offense a step back and bring it to the basics of Shanahan’s or McVay’s schemes. Let it develop with Love and his career, and by the time he’s a seasoned veteran the offense will be a well-oiled machine comparable to San Fransico’s or LA’s offenses.
Run the Ball
All throughout the 2022 season, we heard LaFleur say, “We need to run the ball more” after almost every single game. Packers fans were outraged by his lack of initiative to actually act on his words. We ran the ball 25+ in 11 out of our 17 games, and went 8-3 in those games. The first loss to the Lions is an outlier in some sense, due to Rodgers being our leading rusher. Despite that, there is definitely some kind of correlation here because in the games when we didn’t hit the 25+ attempts rushing, we went 0-6. We dig ourselves into a hole when we throw 40 times and completely abandon the run game. With Aaron Jones returning, we have two guys that can take 20 carries a game which should let us be a dominant rushing team. Again, take this how you want, but it’s pretty clear that running the ball effectively and frequently puts us in the position to win games.
Invest in the Offensive Line
The Packers offensive line has always been solid, in recent years due to Adam Stenavich’s amazing job being the offensive line coach. This year it was actually hard to watch at times. Yosh Nijman and Royce Newman never need to be seen in green and gold ever again after this year. They both played mediocre at best and absolutely atrocious at their worst. Josh Myers is heading into his third year and has shown no improvement whatsoever. His time as a Packer needs to come to an end if he cannot show that he is a starting-caliber NFL center. This draft needs to be oriented around the offense and spend high draft capital on offensive line talent. We do have Elgton Jenkin, David Bakhtiari, and Zach Tom, who all showed out this year when given the opportunity. To add to that, Jon Runyan is a very solid starter for us, but there can definitely be an improvement at right guard. According to PFF, we had the 3rd best offensive line this season, but when watching the games it felt as if they couldn’t block for one second. There is just no chance that an offensive line unit that started Royce Newman for a good chunk of the year, ended with the 3rd best line in the league. An improvement in this area would make it easier for the running backs to do their job and gives the quarterback time to do his as well.
Find a Rhythm
Another major problem for the offensive unit was the lack of rhythm or chemistry anyone had with each other. Partly due to Rodgers missing Adams, but he had his guys in Lazard, Lewis, Tonyan, Jones, and Cobb. At times it seemed as if he couldn’t click with anyone he threw the ball to, and he lacked a feel with any of the new guys brought in. Getting Rodgers to spend the time needed to form a connection with these guys is a tough task, but it would greatly impact the effectiveness of the passing attack. Jordan Love has spent time with the new guys and has built positive relationships with them as shown in that Eagles game this year. The quarterbacks need to do the little things to have a relationship with the guys on the team, whether that’s just throwing the ball around in their free time or genuinely spending time with them. Any athlete can tell you that having a connection to your teammates makes all the difference in how you perform on the field.
Matt LaFleur and Adam Stenavich have their work cut out for them this offseason. There are already loads of question marks involving the personnel on the offensive side, and none of this will work without knowing who the players are going to be for next year. This is a process and will take time to fully accomplish. The front office and coaching staff are incredibly patient (maybe too patient) and for turning around the offense they need to be clear with the whole organization in the goals set. If they can follow any of this, then the offense will be in much better shape heading into the 2023 season.